Plasma electrolytes, total cholesterol, liver enzymes, and selected antioxidant status in protein energy malnutrition.Afr J Med Med Sci 1999 Mar-Jun; 28(1-2):81-5AJ
Golden and Ramdath proposed the free radical theory of kwashiorkor, suggesting that the changes seen in kwashiorkor may be the result of an imbalance between the production and safe disposal of free radicals. In malnourished children, mineral metabolism and antioxidant status need renewed attention especially in relation to cause and functional significance of the changes in concentration of these substances. In the present study, the modified Wellcome classification was used to classify the protein energy malnourished children into kwashiorkor marasmic-kwashiorkor, marasmus and underweight. Twenty-six healthy and normal children were used as controls. Standard procedures were used for the analyses of the biochemical parameters. Our results showed that plasma total cholesterol, sodium, potassium and bicarbonate, beta-carotene, retinol and uric acid were significantly lower in the malnourished group than the control group (P < 0.05), while transaminases were significantly increased in the malnourished group (P < 0.05). These findings suggest an altered electrolyte and antioxidant status in protein energy malnutrition.